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Obama will not release Bin Laden death photos: UPDATES

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UPDATED WITH OBAMA QUOTES, WHITE HOUSE COMMENTS....

WASHINGTON--President Obama will not release pictures of the body of Osama Bin Laden he has viewed because he did not want to risk creation of a "propaganda tool" and saw no need to "spike the football" following the Sunday killing by U.S. forces in Pakistan.

"It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool. That's not who we are. We don't trot out this stuff as trophies," Obama told the CBS show, "60 Minutes."

Press Secretary Jay Carney read excerpts from the CBS "60 Minutes" interview during his Wednesday briefing.

Asked why the photos would not be released, Obama said, "We discussed this internally. Keep in mind that we are absolutely certain that this was him. We've done DNA sampling and testing, and so there is no doubt that we killed Osama bin Laden.

"It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool. That's not who we are. We don't trot out this stuff as trophies.

"The fact of the matter is, this was somebody who was deserving of the -- of the justice that he received, and I think Americans and people around the world are glad that he is gone.

"But we don't need to spike the football. And I think that given the graphic nature of these photos, it would create some national security risk. And I've discussed this with Bob Gates and Hillary Clinton and my intelligence teams, and they all agree," Obama told CBS.

Asked about people in Pakistan who would say "this is another American trick.
Osama is not dead," Obama said, "the truth is that we were monitoring world --
that we are monitoring world -- that we are monitoring -- we were monitoring, rather, worldwide reaction.

"There is no doubt that Osama bin Laden is dead. Certainly there is doubt -- no doubt among al-Qaida members that he is dead. And so we don't think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference. There are going to be some folks who deny it. The fact of the matter is, you will not seen bin Laden walking on this Earth
again."


"The president has made the decision not to release any of the photographs of the deceased Osama bin Laden," Carney said. The pictures "are graphic photographs," Carney said and it was not in the "national security interests" of the U.S. to release them. Obama saw no "compelling reason to release them," Carney said.

There has been debate in Congress--and within the Obama administration-- over whether a picture showing Osama's corpse--earlier called "gruesome" by Carney--should be released to prove his death.

The U.S. has photos of Bin Laden's body and also of his burial-at-sea off the deck of a U.S. battleship in the Arabian Sea.

CIA director Leon Panetta told NBC News on Tuesday, that "I don't think there was any question that ultimately a photograph would be presented to the public."

CBS said Obama made his comments in an interview with Steve Kroft for this Sunday's 60 Minutes.

Obama visits Manhattan on Thursday for a ceremony at "Ground Zero," the site where the World Trade Center Towers were destroyed on 9-11.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 4, 2011 12:37 PM.

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